A/Prof Maija Kohonen-Corish

Visiting Scientist

A/Prof Maija Kohonen-Corish

Associate Professor Kohonen-Corish has a 24-year track record of discovery in cancer research, including the genetic basis of colon cancer, translational research in colon and lung tumours and the development of mouse models. She completed her PhD in Human Genetics at John Curtin School of Medical R


Associate Professor Kohonen-Corish has a 24-year track record of discovery in cancer research, including the genetic basis of colon cancer, translational research in colon and lung tumours and the development of mouse models. She completed her PhD in Human Genetics at John Curtin School of Medical Research in Canberra. She then established a cancer genetics laboratory at the ANU to study the genetic basis of Lynch Syndrome. She has been the head of the colon and lung cancer group at Garvan Institute since 2002.

Awards and Honours

Gastroenterological Society of Australia, 'Near-Miss' NHMRC Project Grant Award, 2017
Cancer Institute NSW Career Development Fellowship 2005, 2008, 2011
MHGSA Certification in Molecular Genetics, Human Genetics Society of Australasia, 2005


1988 - PhD, Human Genetics, Australian National University, Canberra - Australia
1983 - MSc, Genetics, University of Helsinki - Finland
1982 - BSc, University of Helsinki - Finland

Selected Publications

Vennin C, Chin VT, Warren SC, Lucas MC, Herrmann D, Magenau A, Melenec P, Walters SN, del Monte-Nieto G, Conway JRW, Nobis M, Allam AH, McCloy RA, Currey N, Pinese M, Boulghourjian A, Zaratzian A, Adam ASA, Heu C, Nagrial AM, Chou A, Steinmann A, Drury A, Froio D, Giry-Laterriere M, Harris NLE, Phan T, Jain R, Weninger W, McGhee EJ, Whan R, Johns AL, Samra JS, Chantrill L, Gill AJ, Kohonen-Corish M, Harvey RP, Biankin AV, Australian Pancreatic Cancer Genome Initiative (APGI), Evans JTR, Anderson KI, Grey ST, Ormandy CJ, Gallego-Ortega D, Wang Y, Samuel MS, Sansom OJ, Burgess A, Cox TR, Morton JP, Pajic M and Timpson P. Transient tissue priming via ROCK inhibition uncouples pancreatic cancer progression, sensitivity to chemotherapy and the onset of the metastatic niche. Science Translational Medicine 2017; doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aai8504

Benthani FA, Herrmann D, Tran PN, Pangon L, Lucas MC, Allam AH, Currey N, Al-Sohaily S, Giry-Laterriere M, Warusavitarne J, Timpson P, Kohonen-Corish MRJ. ‘MCC’ protein interacts with E-cadherin and beta-catenin strengthening cell-cell adhesion of HCT116 colon cancer cells. Oncogene 2018; 37(5): 663-672; doi:10.1038/onc.2017.362

Shakya R, Tarulli GA, Sheng L, Lokman NA, Ricciardelli C, Pishas KI, Selinger CI, Kohonen-Corish MRJ, Cooper WA, Turner AG, Neilsen PM, Callen DF. Mutant p53 upregulates alpha-1 antitrypsin expression and promotes invasion in lung cancer. Oncogene 2017; 36:4469-4480.

Pangon L, Ng I, Giry-Laterriere M, Currey N, Morgan A, Benthani F, Tran PN, Al-Sohaily S, Segelov E, Parker BL, Cowley MJ, Wright DC, St Heaps L, Carey L, Rooman I, Kohonen-Corish MRJ. JRK is a positive regulator of beta-catenin transcriptional activity commonly over-expressed in colon, breast and ovarian cancer. Oncogene 2016; 35:2834-41.

Selinger CI, Li BT, Pavlakis N, Links M, Gill AJ, Lee A, Clarke S, Tran TN, Lum T, Yip PY, Horvath L, Yu B, Kohonen-Corish MRJ, O’Toole S, Cooper WA. Screening for ROS1 gene rearrangements in non-small cell lung cancers using immunohistochemistry with FISH confirmation is an effective method to identify this rare target. Histopathology 2017; 70:402-411.

Tran TN, Selinger CI, Kohonen-Corish MRJ, McCaughan BC, Kennedy C, O’Toole SA, Cooper WA. Alterations of MET gene copy number and protein expression in primary non-small cell lung cancer and corresponding nodal metastases. Clinical Lung Cancer  2016; 17:30-38.e1

Tricarico R, Kasela M, Mareni C, Thompson BA, Drouet A, Staderini L, Gorelli G, Crucianelli F, Ingrosso V, Kantelinen J, Papi L, De Angioletti M, Berardi M, Gaildrat P, Soukarieh O, Turchetti D, Martins A, Spurdle AB, Nyström M, Genuardi M, InSiGHT Variant Interpretation Committee. Assessment of the InSiGHT Interpretation Criteria for the Clinical Classification of 24 MLH1 and MSH2 Gene Variants. Human Mutation 2017; 38:64-77.

Mladenova DN, Dahlstrom JE, Tran PN, Benthani F, Bean EG, Ng I, Pangon L, Currey N, Kohonen-Corish MRJ. HIF1α deficiency reduces colon inflammation in a mouse model of proximal colon cancer. Disease Models & Mechanisms 2015; 8:1093-1103

Thompson BA, Spurdle AB, Plazzer J-P, Greenblatt MS, Akagi K, Al-Mulla F, Bapat B, Bernstein I, Capella G, den Dunnen JT, du Sart D, Fabre A, Farrell MP, Farrington SM, Frayling IM, Frebourg T, Goldgar DE, Heinen CD, Holinski-Feder E, Kohonen-Corish M, Lagerstedt-Robinson K, Leung SY, Martins A, Moller P, Morak M, Nystrom M, Peltomaki P, Pineda M, Qi M, Ramesar R, Rasmussen LJ, Royer-Pokora B, Scott RJ, Sijmons R, Tavtigian SV, Tops CM, Weber T, Wijnen J, Woods MO, on behalf of InSiGHT, Macrae F, Genuardi M. Application of a five-tiered scheme for standardized classification of 2,360 unique mismatch repair gene variants lodged on the InSiGHT locus-specific database. Nature Genetics 2014; 46(2):107-15.

Kaur S, Lotsari JE, Al-Sohaily S, Warusavitarne J, Kohonen-Corish MRJ, Peltomäki P. Identification of subgroup-specific miRNA patterns by epigenetic profiling of sporadic and Lynch syndrome-associated colorectal and endometrial carcinoma. Clinical Epigenetics 2015; 7:20

Benthani F, Tran PN, Currey N, Ng I, Giry-Laterriere M, Carey L, Kohonen-Corish MRJ*, Pangon L*. Proteogenomic Analysis Identifies a Novel Human SHANK3 Isoform. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2015; 16:11522-11530.

Cooper WA, Tran T, Vilain RE, Madore J, Selinger CI, Kohonen-Corish MRJ, Yip PY, Yu B, O’Toole SA, McCaughan BC, Yearley JH, Horvath LG, Kao S, Boyer M, Scolyer RA. PD-L1 expression is a favorable prognostic factor in early stage non-small cell carcinoma. Lung Cancer 2015; 89:181-188.

Pangon L, Mladenova D, Watkins L, Van Kralingen C, Currey N, Al-Sohaily S, Lecine P, Borg J-P, Kohonen-Corish MRJ. MCC inhibits beta-catenin transcriptional activity by sequestering DBC1 in the cytoplasm. International Journal of Cancer 2015; 136:55-64.

Al-Sohaily S, Henderson C, Selinger C, Pangon L, Segelov E, Kohonen-Corish M, Warusavitarne J. Loss of Special AT-rich Sequence-Binding Protein 1 (SATB1) Predicts Poor Survival in Patients with Colorectal Cancer. Histopathology 2014; 65: 155–163

Kohonen-Corish MRJ, Tseung J, Chan C, Currey N, Dent OF, Clarke S, Bokey L, Chapuis P. KRAS mutations and CDKN2A promoter methylation show an interactive adverse effect on survival and predict recurrence of rectal cancer. International Journal of Cancer 2014; 134: 2820–2828

Mladenova D, Pangon L, Currey N, Irvin Ng, Musgrove EA, Grey ST, Kohonen-Corish MRJ. Sulindac sulfide activates NF-kB signalling in colorectal cancer cells. Cell Communication and Signaling 2013; 11:73.

Pangon L, Van Kralingen C, Abas M, Daly RJ, Musgrove EA, Kohonen-Corish MR. The PDZ-binding motif of MCC is phosphorylated at position -1 and controls lamellipodia formation in colon epithelial cells. Biochim Biophys Acta 2012;1823:1058-67.

Mladenova D, Kohonen-Corish MRJ. Mouse Models of Inflammatory Bowel Disease - Insights into the Mechanisms of Inflammation-associated Colorectal Cancer. Invited Review. in vivo 2012; 26: 627-646

Poursoltan P, Currey N, Pangon L, van Kralingen C, Selinger CI, Mahar A, Cooper WA, Kennedy CW, McCaughan BC, Trent R, Kohonen-Corish MR. Loss of heterozygosity of the Mutated in Colorectal Cancer gene is not associated with promoter methylation in non-small cell lung cancer. Lung Cancer 2012;77:272-6.

Mladenova D, Daniel JJ, Dahlstrom JE, Bean E, Gupta R, Pickford R, Currey N, Musgrove EA, Kohonen-Corish MRJ. The NSAID sulindac is chemopreventive in the mouse distal colon but carcinogenic in the proximal colon. Gut 2011; 60: 350-360.

Kohonen-Corish MR, Al-Aama JY, Auerbach AD, Axton M, Barash CI, Bernstein I, Beroud C, Burn J, Cunningham F, Cutting GR, den Dunnen JT, Greenblatt MS, Kaput J, Katz M, Lindblom A, Macrae F, Maglott D, Moslein G, Povey S, Ramesar R, Richards S, Seminara D, Sobrido MJ, Tavtigian S, Taylor G, Vihinen M, Winship I, Cotton RG. How to catch all those mutations--the report of the third Human Variome Project Meeting, UNESCO Paris, May 2010. Hum Mutat 2010; 31: 1374-1381.

Seng TJ, Currey N, Cooper WA, Lee CS, Chan C, Horvath L, Sutherland RL, Kennedy C, McCaughan B, Kohonen-Corish MR. DLEC1 and MLH1 promoter methylation are associated with poor prognosis in non-small cell lung carcinoma. Br J Cancer 2008;99:375-82.

Kohonen-Corish MR, Sigglekow ND, Susanto J, Chapuis PH, Bokey EL, Dent OF, Chan C, Lin BP, Seng TJ, Laird PW, Young J, Leggett BA, Jass JR, Sutherland RL. Promoter methylation of the mutated in colorectal cancer gene is a frequent early event in colorectal cancer. Oncogene 2007;26:4435-41.

Kohonen-Corish MR, Daniel JJ, Chan C, Lin BP, Kwun SY, Dent OF, Dhillon VS, Trent RJ, Chapuis PH, Bokey EL. Low microsatellite instability is associated with poor prognosis in stage C colon cancer. J Clin Oncol 2005;23:2318-24.

Kohonen-Corish MR, Daniel JJ, te Riele H, Buffinton GD, Dahlstrom JE. Susceptibility of Msh2-deficient mice to inflammation-associated colorectal tumors. Cancer Res 2002;62:2092-7.

Kohonen-Corish M, Ross VL, Doe WF, Kool DA, Edkins E, Faragher I, Wijnen J, Khan PM, Macrae F, St John DJ. RNA-based mutation screening in hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer. Am J Hum Genet 1996;59:818-24.

Kohonen-Corish MR, King NJ, Woodhams CE, Ramshaw IA. Immunodeficient mice recover from infection with vaccinia virus expressing interferon-gamma. Eur J Immunol 1990;20:157-61.

Kohonen-Corish MR, Serjeantson SW. HLA-DR beta gene DNA polymorphisms revealed by Taq I correlate with HLA-DR specificities. Hum Immunol 1986;15:263-71.